This morning I lingered a bit longer in bed, not by choice, but out of necessity. The POTS symptoms greet me each morning before I even step onto the floor. The spinning, tremors, weakness, etc. are with me every step of the way as I pack lunches, make sure teeth have been brushed, hugs and kisses, and then I collapse in the bed until my meds kick in. It’s a daily routine. But today as I was lying there in silence, looking around the room I heard birds chirping. I heard the sound of cars going by and raindrops beginning to fall. I smiled. I had a moment to breathe, to enjoy the song of the birds and nature. The world moves on each day, even though I often feel I am living the same day over and over.
But not today, I started thinking how I love my bed. I love the mattress my mother bought me. I love that I can elevate my head to any level just by the press of a button because my father in law bought me the electronic thingy(yes this is the technical term) to adjust my bed however I choose. Yet, many days that same amazing bed feels like a prison. Invisible shackles on my hands and feet keep me from leaving. In my sickest moments, that bed is where I will be found.
I feel the same about my sofa. It’s my second resting place. My husband lovingly refers to it as my perch. It’s my nest where I surround myself with everything I could possibly need for hours so that I won’t have to get up unless necessary. It’s a safe space for me, and yet it too feels like a prison cell some days. Both objects, I love dearly and both objects I despise some days.
A great illustration of POTS is a pot or a vase. On the outside, things can look decorative and normal, but the darkness on the inside is the unknown. You can’t actually see what is happening inside, but experiencing it, you are well aware your autonomic system is completely out of whack. Imagine everything your body does automatically. For example, breathing, swallowing, your heart rate adjusting to your bodily position, your blood flowing properly, and so many more things. Now imagine, your body not able to receive or send these messages appropriately and you have to physically do things or take medication to remind your body to do what it is intended to do. Well, that’s POTS.
Now I know POTS patients are not the only ones who feel trapped in a vessel and cannot seem to escape. I know we are not the only ones fighting for quality of life when the darkness seems to skew our vision and understanding. I know this vase illustration is for many. This past month, I have struggled emotionally with POTS. I see the toll it has taken on my body. I see the moments I feel I am missing with my family. I feel the physical pain of chronic illness. I see the medicines I have to use on a daily basis to function at a semi-normal level. But, this month has been more than that. I have seen the cracks in the vase this month. I have seen where time is chipping away at the outside of the vase. I see where each “No” etches another imperfection or dent on the vase. I see the “vase” is no longer sitting on a shelf, but being used daily and I can see where the cracks are becoming more evident.
Just like my sofa can be my safe space or my prison, so can the vase become useless and broken, or it can be the very space where hope is found. Those cracks now allow light to shine in and gives me glimpses of what is to come. Those chips and dings prove I refuse to just sit hoping the answers find me. Every time a “No” makes another dent, it is a reminder I atleast asked the questions. Yes, the vase may be fragile at times, but it is not shattered. The vase may appear cracked and used, but ironically it is stronger because of the use. The vase wasn’t as fragile as expected.
If you are sitting, hiding, or paralyzed in your situation, you can choose to remain an immaculate vase on the shelf. But know you do have the option to be an active participant in your life and decisions. Don’t waste your time blaming others, sickness, or circumstance for your vase’s condition. Instead, focus on finding life in the cracks and imperfections. Allow the light to shine through those spaces and then share that light with others. It’s not meant just for you. The light is meant to be shared with all. You may feel as though you are too fragile to move. But, I encourage you to reassess your condition and know you are not alone. You have a heavenly Father that is not restrained by human limitations. He can do things no doctor, no spouse, no friend can do. He can do the impossible.
I will end with this verse…”You’re blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” Matthew 5:8
It is never too late to let the light come in and transform your heart. Nor is it ever too early to allow that light to shine through you so others can see the Truth as well. Share what God has so graciously given to you, and know cracked vases sometimes have the best view of all.